attract the Village Voice, even if henterms himself a pious Christian. Hennever came up with a rebuttal to thenadulation of Playboy’s readers; he doesnnot have the ideological equipment tondeal with this kind of problem. “I believenin the power of ideas,” he keepsnrepeating. So does everybody else, butnthe corollary question must be: Whichnideas.” Here the paucity of Mr. Anderson’snreservoir of ideas comes to light:nhis principle of independence means, innfact, an affirmation of nothing or, atnbest, very little. Senator McCarthy, atnleast, ran against the war in Vietnam.nMr. Anderson is running against twonother guys. In the beginning, he evennused Mr. Carter’s slogan “Why Not thenBest,” but someone must have told himnthat two bests may amount to such anflop that everybody will be looking fornsomeone who is simply good, decent,nand appropriate, hi lieu of being decent,nMr. Anderson projects an image ofnnobleness and perfection, so the pressncan go on promoting the slogan: “It’snnot important what he says but who henis.” What he says is a hodgepodge ofnsocioeconomic bits and pieces. “He isna fiscal conservative and a social liberal!”nbeam the press, and they forgensuch a nonsensical denomination intonan emblem of virtue. But anyone whongives some thought to such a silly combinationnof words will easily discovernthe appalling shallowness and muddlenwhich is inherent in it: liberalism is bynnature fiscally nonconservative, and thengist of conservatism is a nonliberal graspnof social matters—to combine them isnintellectual fraud. In this republic ofnours, social liberalism makes spendingnthe taxpayers’ money a matter of conscience.nFiscal conservatism makes savingntaxpayers’ money a matter of conscience.nHow one’s conscience can be anbattleground of two mutually exclusive,ncontradictory and syncretic impulsesnand still remain the healthy,nfunctional conscience of a trustworthynpolitician remains the secret of insouciantncolumnists like James Reston, whonsee such an oxymoron as Mr. Ander­nChronicles of Colturcnson’s political capital. The Wall StreetnJournal remarked not long ago: “JohnnAnderson has no discernible politicalnphilosophy or program that clearly setsnhim apart from the others. His politicsnare a mish-mash of left-over Republicannviews with some vague borrowings fromnliberal Democrats and he’s never sufferednfrom the sin of consistency.”nThe spiel about being “best” inducesnsome musing. What short memories wenhave. Four years ago Mr. Carter builtnhis career on a claim to candor andnhonesty, and we got one of the mostndevious presidents in history, one whonhas hoodwinked everybody to whom henever made any promises. Why should wenbelieve such claims again? Just becausenMr. Anderson’s hair is whiter and hisnassurances of honesty are delivered inna Midwestern accent.” Isn’t there a latentndishonesty in the overeager flauntingnof honesty, dignity of looks and religiositynas big personality assets? After all,nas we watched the primaries, we sawnMr. Andersontry to win the Republicannnomination through the manipulationnof Democrats, their votes, their readinessnto encroach upon a political processnwhich was not theirs. “He is a genuinenmoderate!” crow the press. Moderatenin what? In conservatism or liberalismnor the use of hard liquor? To call Mr.nAnderson a “moderate” is about as precisenas calling those people who kidnapndiplomats “students”: certainly, therenare some reasons to think that they attendnschool and nominally can list “student”nas their occupation, but isn’t therensomething more to be said about theirncharacteristics? Moderation is not annnpolitical position, but the media are aptnat turning it into an asset. “He is anthinker, a man of unusual intelligence!”ngoes the slogan that is pushed mostnoften. Mr. Anderson, like Messrs. Reagannand Carter, wrote a book. All threenare very, very bad books: Mr. Carternwrote something so trite that it wouldnhave difficulty being accepted as a freshman’snterm paper; Mr. Reagan oversimplifiednconservatism in his book; Mr.nAnderson did the same to religion,nwhich he seems to consider a two-dimensionalnmatter of compassion andngrace.nThus, the final question is: Whatnmakes Mr. Anderson go, run, do whatnhe’s doing? Many people say that it’snan ego trip, using some rich liberals’nmoney. This is perhaps too harsh a judgment;nwe are not too inclined to seencorruption in self-righteousness, evennif it is pushed to the limits of obsessivenself-importance. However, John Osborne,nthe respected senior politicalncommentator for The New Republic, anliberal journal whose editors have declaredntheir support for Mr. Anderson’snquest, wrote: “[John Anderson] . . .isna weak changeling whose principal claimnon the presidency is that he wants it.”nHenry Fairlie, a contributing editor tonthe same publication, wrote: “He [Anderson]nis the opportunist disguised asnan idealist: the man who appeals to hisnconscience to justify any position hentakes.” In Newsweek, which gave Mr.nAnderson an exceedingly favorablencover story, we could read a puzzlingnsentence about the beginning of Mr.nAnderson’s career: “… when they [Mr.n